Should the Redskins wait for a coach still in the playoffs?

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With the Bengals and Packers losses on Sunday in the Wild Card Round, their assistants are now free to both interview and be hired by perspective teams. Other coaches from teams moving on can interview in their home city at the playoff team’s convenience, but any follow up interview and hiring can’t take place until after the team is eliminated from the postseason. Coaches from teams on a bye could have been interviewed this past week in their home city, but now restrictions on a 2nd interview and hiring them are in place. The Redskins now have to decide if they want to hire a coach who is free to sign now, or should they wait until the whole field is available?

The Redskins have already interviewed Carolina  DC Sean McDermott and Seattle OC Darrell Bevell and will have to wait at least one more week to hire either one of them. With the 49ers and Chargers advancing, the Redskins could interview Greg Roman the 49ers offensive coordinator and Ken Whisenhunt the Chargers offensive coordinator, but would have to wait for them to lose to hire them.

The Redskins have already interviewed or are set to interview Jim Caldwell the Ravens offensive coordinator, Perry Fewell the Giants defensive coordinator, Rich Bisaccia the Cowboys special teams coach and have requested an interview with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. Also now that the Bengals are eliminated from the postseason the Redskins have requested interviews with OC Jay Gruden and DC Mike Zimmer. While there hasn’t been any mention yet, the Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub and Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements could both garner attention as well.

Other coaches could get on the short list, both from coaches eliminated from the postseason (Todd Bowles, Ray Horton) and coaches still in the mix (Dan Quinn, Adam Gase), the Redskins need to figure out if anyone separates themselves from the pack and if that guy is still in the playoffs is it worth waiting to hire him.

Since the Redskins have so many interviews yet to go waiting another week isn’t a bad thing, but if a team is Super Bowl bound, then the Redskins can’t get a coach and staff hired until early February. That is after the Senior Bowl and other college All-star games and less than three weeks before the NFL Scouting Combine. Not only would it mean that your coaching staff can’t help scout down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, but it also puts your scouting department at a disadvantage. If the Redskins change their philosophy on offense or defense, it changes the way scouts look at players. If you are are going to be a 4-3 team, you are going to focus in on players that you might have otherwise ignored (not completely, but to the point that you aren’t as knowledgeable on) and vice-versa. The same is true with the type of offensive linemen you are looking for as well as particular traits in certain players. If the Redskins plan on playing a certain type of coverage scheme, certain corners and safeties should be valued higher than others.

So while it might be great to get a top assistant from a Super Bowl team, it can hinder your ability to prepare for the offseason. Not only does that apply to the draft, but it can also apply to free agency and who to retain from the current roster. You have to identify what type of free agents the Redskins should pursue, and you have to be prepared two months before the draft, while you are cramming for that as well. The Redskins free agency game plan could be completely different depending on who the new head coach is and how he structures his staff. Not only will their be differences from a scheme stand point, but from an individual player standpoint. If Darrell Bevell becomes the head coach a WR like the Seahawks Golden Tate could be a top target for the Redskins, where he might not be on the top 10 WR list for a different staff. And this just isn’t just involving the head coach, this could apply to coordinators and assistants as well. In addition to forming a free agency plan from other teams, a different staff could view the Redskins current roster and free agents differently.

The Redskins have a high number of free agents (which is why they have so much money to spend) and they also have a short list of players likely to get the ax. Who is retained and who is let go will be largely determined by the staff that is in place. If you hire a staff in the next 10 days, they will have an extra couple of weeks to figure out who is worth retaining or re-signing. Another thing to remember is that even if the Redskins get their new coach hired by Feb. 3rd (the Monday following the Super Bowl), it could take another 5-10 days to fill out the rest of the coaching staff.  That time is important because there is so much a new staff will need to do before major events like the Combine, Free Agency Period and NFL Draft.

Now that’s not to say that it should be a deal breaker if the Redskins need to wait for a coach, but it does need to be a factor in the decision making. If Greg Roman is the Redskins top choice, but Mike Zimmer is a close second then it could be worth going with Zimmer to get a leg up. Of course the Redskins don’t know yet what coaches will be free to hire in the next two weeks, as opposed to waiting till after the Super Bowl, but the Redskins need to weigh all the scenarios.

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